Price and market trends: India’s amines prices seen subdued amid election, ample supply

16 May 2014 10:01 Source:ICIS Chemical Business

India’s prices of monoethanolamines (MEA) and diethanolamines (DEA) are poised to remain subdued amid an election period and ample cargo availability, market participants said on 7 May.

The general election in India began on 7 April and will end on 12 May. Vote counting will take place on 16 May.

The selling indications of Middle Eastern DEA have dropped to $1,450/tonne CIF (cost insurance & freight) India from $1,500/tonne CIF India in the previous week, underscoring the state of the tepid market in the country.

“The market is sluggish during the election period,” said one market participant.

Compounding the situation, supply was outpacing supply as a consequence of an armada of imports.

About 1,500 tonnes of Middle Eastern DEA as well as 700-800 tonnes of Middle Eastern MEA had been delivered into the country in April.

“People are desperate to sell [ethanolamines] in India,” said another market participant.

On MEA, the offers stood at $1,450/tonne CIF India for Middle Eastern-origin cargoes while buyers refused to budge as they put forth bids at $1,400/tonne CIF India.

“The domestic market is poor,” said one participant.

Essentially, the participants were waiting for clearer price direction after the election in the second half of May, before committing to concrete buying ideas.

In the local market, MEA discussions slipped to Indian rupees (Rs) 95-99/kg EXWH (ex-warehouse) on 7 May from Rs99-100/kg EXWH in the previous week.

Domestic DEA prices declined to Rs102-103/kg EXWH from Rs102-106/kg EXWH over the same period.

“Supply is abundant,” said the participant.

Overall, the prices were capped notwithstanding limited supply from a major producer in southeast Asia.

However, some market participants were hopeful that in post-election, business activities would improve.

“Probably, the new government will centre on business-friendly policies,” the participant said.

Ethanolamines have applications in agrochemicals, surfactants, personal care and construction. MEA is produced by reacting ethylene oxide (EO) with ammonia.

By Felicia Loo